A guide to BBQ tools and cooking equipment
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BBQ tools of the trade
The tools you use to cook on a BBQ can be as simple as a spatula and some tongs but if you really want to get into mastering the BBQ then it is important to know the vocabulary and equipment that can make cooking simpler.
Spatula – The main thing to have in your tool kit is a spatula. A spatula is a tool with a broad, flat flexible blade used to flip and move food. It should be stainless steel with a toothed edge for tenderising and a serrated edge used for cutting and slicing. Some even come with bottle opener at the bottle base.
Tongs - Any of various implements consisting of two arms hinged, pivoted, or otherwise fastened together for seizing, holding or lifting something. A sturdy stainless steel head with a serrated cutting edge is preferred for grilling. Tongs are also available with a rubber head for use on more delicate surfaces.
Grill press - usually made from cast iron, this heavy press will ensure that the meat is cooked evenly when used. To use first heat the press on the grill and then apply to harden meats such as fish, bacon or steak. Pressing the meat not only helps them cook faster but also pushes out any fat or oil in your item. A grill press can also but used cool. It is perfect for forming and flattening burgers, which will enable even and faster cooking. Just remember not to press your burgers on the grill’s surface, as the minced beef is likely to be pushed thru your grill top. Be sure to wash your press with soap and water and then apply a tiny bit of oil. Because cast iron is prone to rusting be sure it is completely dry and then store in a dry area.
Metal Skewers - used for inserting or piercing meat to hold together for cooking these skewers should be made from a stainless steel. They have a pointed sharp end and sometimes a grip on the other. Metal skewers are used for kebabs.
Basting brush - used to spread oil or sauces onto food being cooked. A basting brush helps keep food moist and seasoned while cooking. It looks similar to a paintbrush with the only difference being the type of bristles. The bristles can be silicone, plastic or nylon.
BBQ Fork - used to hold food in place or turn this two-pronged fork is long and made from stainless steel. The prongs are usually very sharp so that it enables the user to stab and grab the food more efficiently. Often called a meat fork or carving fork.
Corn skewers - or cob holders are designed to enable the consumer to pick up a hot piece of corn to eat without getting burned. They are a small tool with a nice comfortable gripping end and a sharp pointed end. The skewers are placed at both ends of a cob of corn and act as handles.
Steak Knives - It is worth investing in a good steak knife if your going to take the trouble to prepare a nice meal. You should look at three different things while searching for your steak knife; non-serrated bald, forged blade and comfort of handles. A non-serrated blade is a smooth non-jagged knife which cleanly cuts the meat. They last for a long time because they can be sharpened. A forged blade is a blade which is made by heating then stamping into shape from a thick piece of steel. This results in a much heavier, thicker and stronger knife. Due to the skill level involved in making these knives, the cost is going to be much higher then those which are stamped from a machine. Lastly the comfort of the handle is completely subjective and will depend on your own preferences. Be sure to check out the knives in a store where you can touch and feel them.
Cleaning Brush - a tough metal bristled brush which sometimes also has a scrubbing pad or scrapper on one end . Usually with a long handle , these sturdy brushed are used to clean the grill after use.
Marinade injector - Looking much like a giant syringe from the doctors, marinade injectors are used to inject marinade deep inside your food. Why depend on your meat to soak up the flavours when you can keep the inside succulent with a simple injection.
Stainless steel sausage holder – one holder usually fits 4-6 sausages depending on the model you choose. Holders are usually basket style and open and close by a latch. The holder not only allows you to turn your sausages securely without worrying about them falling off the grill but also allows you to cook them evenly.
Temperature probe - an essential tool to have, a temperature probe tells you not only when your food is cooked but prevents you from having to cut into your food to check loosing its juices. An instant read digital thermometer is the fastest and easiest way to check your food but there are many different types to choose from. - digital instant/ rapid-read - oven-proof - dial - fork thermometer - fork indicator - colour-changing temperature gauge - pop-up indicators Always remember to check your food in the thickest part because this will take the longest to cook.
Rib rack- is a stainless steel rack, which is designed to keep your ribs upright while cooking. It optimises your grilling area and usually can hold around 4-6 rib racks at a time.
Pizza stone – usually made out of stone, ceramic, or earthenware, pizza stones are flat and are used to distribute heat evenly. The porous surface of the stone absorbs moisture which results in a crisper crust. To prevent the stone from cracking always remember to place the stone on the grill prior to heating and allow it to gradually warm up with your grill . You may try sprinkling cornmeal, semolina or bread crumbs on the stone as to prevent the pizza dough from sticking . When cleaning your stone do not leave submerged in water but wash with plain water and a brush . This will allow you to clean the stone without damaging it.
Rotisserie kit – A rotisserie is a type of roasting which turns the meat at a slow pace . This also can be called a spit or spit-roast. It is used for large cuts of meat or whole game such as chicken, turkeys or even pigs. You can find rotisserie kits big enough to cook a bison or small enough to fit on your home grill. The rotisserie is attached to a motor that is then plugged into an electrical socket to do the rotating.
Grill basket – a metal basket used to place food in which can easily be turned and moved on the grill. The basket has a top and a bottom that move on a hinge to open and close. Once food is placed inside the basket the top can be latched to secure the food. It is often used to cook food that is small and might fall between the grate of the grill. It also can be easily cleaned therefore making it an ideal tool for the at home cook.
Cast iron smoker pot – designed to hold wood pellets or chips this smoker is epically useful if you own a gas grill or just don’t want the mess of putting wood chips on your hot coals. The smoker pot has holes in the top, which allow the smoke to be released into your grill. Gas lighter- A long neck gas lighter is a must for any charcoal grill. The long neck allows you to easily light your fire without worry about burning yourself by being to close.
Stainless steel fish basket - for any seafood enthusiast this is an excellent way to grill your fish. The stainless steel basket is in the shape of a fish and is non-stick . They come in several different sizes. If you have ever tried cooking fish on a grill you know how hard it is to keep it from sticking. This basket allows you to easily turn and rotate the fish to allow evenly cooked food. This basket also comes in handy if you are a camper that loves to eat your freshly caught fish.
With so many tools to choose from what will you get first?